Miscarriage, Grief, and Mom Guilt

How will you live in grace, right here, right now?  

I couldn’t stop thinking, “What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently.” 

In a routine check-up, half way through my first pregnancy, the doctor said, “I’m not picking up a heartbeat, Pam. There doesn’t appear to be any fetal movement.  I think the baby is dead.” 

In disbelief my emotions began to run wild and unchecked.  Engulfed in a jumble of scrambled thoughts, I wanted desperately to hear the doctor say, Wait a minute – I’m wrong.  I’ve made a mistake.”   

Those words never came. 

The tears poured out. I sobbed long and hard.  Nothing made sense. I despised my inability to change things. And that added up to one crippling emotion:  GUILT. 

Grief and mom guilt share space.  If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of your baby or child, you get it.  You nod in sync with Erma Bombeck:  Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.  

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And its reward?  Absolutely nothing beneficial or good. 

Grab this timeless wisdom:  A shattered heart cannot heal in an environment of judgement, criticism, blame, and guilt.   

Study after study shows that self-criticism and guilt is consistently associated with less motivation and decreased self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression.  

That’s why it’s important to slow down and listen to your heart. What is it saying?  What triggers your guilt? Become aware. 

You can only address and adjust what you can acknowledge. 

Here’s the challenge…. Guilt and shame are loud hostile bullies.  

They lie to you. They scoff accusations: 

You’re a failure. 

If you were more (fill in the blank) this never would have happened. 

You got what was coming to you. 

There you go again.  You ruined everything. 

I don’t believe for one second that you intentionally want to be violent to your own soul. You are created for love, not fear and hostility. 

So, what can you do when that mom guilt shows up again?  

Here’s a solution that brings powerful results. 

Give yourself grace. Right here. Right now.  

Grace creates the optimal conditions for mending a broken heart. 

Grace lovingly lifts and carries.  

It doesn’t push, coerce, or command you to try harder.  

It’s you being gentle and kind with you.  

It’s you lightening your load.  

It’s you silencing your inner critic. 

It’s you giving yourself permission to listen to Love:  It’s OK.  Breathe. Rest. Live in the grace of the day. Everything is going to be alright. I’m here with you. 

The heart of God answers the devastations of life with one word:  Grace. 

You can, too. 

How will you live in grace, right here, right now?  

Pam Vredevelt

Pam Vredevelt

Pam Vredevelt is a Professional Counselor and Coach, Best-selling author of Empty Arms, and the Empty Arms Journal. Jessie Vredevelt Schultz is a business consultant and transformation coach. They co-lead Healing Your Empty Arms: A transformation experience after the loss of your baby or child, for emotional healing, personal growth, and spiritual renewal.

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